A good percentage of people in the world are dealing with issues of cutting down some of the extra body weight they have on, or they will in the near future be faced with this issue. I will share some of the things I did that helped me lose a good amount of weight in 30 days ( I lost 15lbs in 30 days). My weight loss strategy is not some magic formula or secret system that will help you lose weight. Like every true success in life, what I will share will require discipline and hard work (the fundamental recipe for personal development). I will say upfront that I have never had an issue with my weight, my BMI has always been within range for my age and height, except when I was much younger, when I had a lot of baby fat. This puts me somewhat in a different situation than most people who will be reading this. With all that said, let’s get into the crux of this post.
It all started when I went on a family vacation to Dubai in July―this was much fun―I got back to Chicago and realized that I had gained about ten pounds over the two week period of the vacation. What was even more alarming to me was that I worked out intermittently while I was on vacation. I must confess though that about two weeks prior to the trip, my mom was with me. Being a bachelor, she did a lot of cooking, and obviously I did a lot more eating than normal.
The weekend I got back from Dubai I put on a suit, dressed up for church, and I could hardly move in my clothes. They were too tight―”Houston we have a problem”―Almost all my clothes are fitted. I generally wear a 15.5/34-35 fitted shirt and 38R fitted suit/33 waist. But this particular Sunday, I was choking in my shirt, my pants couldn’t button up and my suit just looked…blah! Being a guy (like that’s an excuse), I had not bothered to try my clothes on the day before church, so I just had to make it work that morning by improvising (don’t ask me, if you’ve been in this situation, i’m sure you can figure out some of the stuff I did 😉 ). After leading prayer at church that morning, I had to unbutton my shirt at the neck to allow me breathe. Of course it didn’t help that all the people who had not seen me for the past two weeks were giving comments like, “wow you look well rested…you have put on some weight”…etc. Immediately that rang an alarm in me, weight loss.
What had changed? Well…I had gone from being 185lbs before the trip to about 194lbs. O_0! Anyhoo, I made up my mind that I was going to lose the weight, because the alternative was to embrace the weight gain and carry on with life. But the implication would mean a complete wardrobe change which I wasn’t ready to pay for because I wasn’t done wearing the set of NICE clothes I had just bought. So I gave myself two months to comfortably fit into my clothes.
Before I begin to tell you what I did, let me give you a background on how much I like food. A vacation without good food will suck for me. I generally have the ability to control my urges to eat, and I have trained myself in eating smaller portions (this was a decision I made a few months ago). However. I will tell you that i’m a sucker for steak. I can eat a steak every day. I’m the kind of guy that goes into a steakhouse and will order a 20 oz steak without thinking too much about it. (If you are concerned about my cholesterol, don’t worry, it’s well within the healthy range…I know because my lab results confirmed it recently).
Now that I got that out of the way, here are some of the things I did that I believe will help you:
Start with a decision.
The first step in any move towards your personal development is to make a decision. I made a decision to lose weight. It wasn’t an ambiguous decision. It was a decision to lose ten pounds in the first thirty days. Both reasonable and easily attainable with the right effort. One of the things I consistently teach people when I see they are in a rut is on the power of a decision. If you don’t like your current life situation, you have the power to change it. The change starts first with a decision, followed by a specific and time bound goal written in the affirmative. Then you must take action!
If I can go on a tangent here to give a life lesson; many people don’t like their current situation, and they wish it were different and better, but nothing changes in life by wishing. But change starts with a decision. I could have wished I didn’t put on the weight, and made myself comfortable by buying new clothes or adjusting them so that they fit, with the hope that I don’t gain any more weight. This seems to be the route many people take. Rather than make a positive change in a negative situation, most people would rather whine about the negative situation, do what they can to be comfortable or stable in the midst of what they don’t like, and then hope that things don’t get any worse. Your best life is lived proactively and not by reacting to the happenings of life.
Have a clear goal.
Humans are goal achieving beings. We function best when there is a goal that we are working towards. If you are able to get a target deep within your inner-self, you will be subconsciously directed in ways through which you can achieve that goal. Upon making my decision to lose weight, I let my family know that I was going to lose the weight. As often as everyone told me I had put on some weight, I immediately let them know that I was going to lose the weight. It didn’t stop there, but I knew exactly how much I needed to lose the weight and by when.
The fastest and most effective way to attain to your personal development goals is to write them down. Get a piece of paper and write your weight goals. Mine was “I am losing 15lb by September 30, and I am 18olbs with a 15% body fat percentage”. This was the weight loss goal of 15lbs in 30 days. Post it somewhere where you can see it clearly, and commit yourself by telling someone who will keep you accountable to your goals. Seeing your goal every day reinforces in you the target, and the necessity for you to achieve your goal. Also, because I had told my family members and some friends, they kept asking me, “how’s the weight loss going?”. In order for me not to be a disappointment, I had to make sure I was constantly working towards my goal.
People who have written and shared goals are much more likely to succeed than those without written goals.
Believe you can.
Jesus taught in Mark 9:23 saying, “all things are possible to him that believes”. Believing is a very powerful motivating factor in life. Henry Ford is noted to have said, “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right”. Believing is a heart conviction that moves us into action. I had to believe that it was possible for me to lose the weight and achieve my goals.
You need to understand that your life moves in the direction of your most dominant thoughts, and your thoughts fuel your beliefs. If you believe your goals are attainable, and you’ve tried but seem not to be making progress, your belief is necessarily not wrong, but your methods may be wrong. Hold on to your belief, and find out what you may be doing wrong and make changes. If you’re doing the right things, then continue with it and do more.
I spoke confidently to anyone who asked me about the progress of my weight loss plan. If you still doubt the power of believing, I’ll like to inform you that I actually wrote this post on August 30th, and I was 186lbs this morning when I checked. This is 5lbs from my weight target and thirty days away 😉
What is personal development without a quest for knowledge? This particular point is very important because information seems to make the difference between achievers and underachievers. After you make a decision, you have a clear target in the form of a written goal, you believe you can achieve your goal, the logical next step is action. But you need information to know what steps you should actually be taking. You probably are aware of the maxim, “knowledge is power”. The power to fuel your actions is in the knowledge you have.
The basic knowledge for loosing weight is to burn more calories than you consume in a day. The way to do this is by proper diet and exercise. I had to make a decision to change my diet and exercise. I asked my friends who work out on tips, and combined it with some of the knowledge I had also. For different people, there are nuances to what kind of diet an exercising needs to be done. For me, I was trying to lose weight, and at the same time pack muscles and increase definition. This is generally a difficult thing to do. It is advised that you build muscle mass first, and then go on a regimen to burn fat and increase definition. However I wanted to do both, so I got some information on what I needed to do.
However, the irony is that most of the things, if not all, that I am sharing in this post, you probably already know them. This brings me to the next point which is discipline and hard work.
Discipline and hard work.
All success in personal development requires discipline. Like I said earlier, I don’t have any magic formula or gimmicks for losing weight. But a major difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is action. Once you have information, what do you do with it? Information that is not applied is of no value to anybody. The first aspect of it is discipline; discipline is the process of imposing order on oneself through training and self control. The next part of it is diligence (which is hard work), which is the earnest and persistent application to an undertaking in order to have the desired results.
Some people excuse their indiscipline by making excuses. I have heard different kinds of excuses that people give for why they cannot lose weight, or why they don’t exercise. The truth is that discipline and hard work are not inherent traits in any human being. They are learned attributes of character. Everyone if left alone to their feelings will not do anything productive. But when there is a goal in front of you that you have decided to achieve, you need discipline and hard work to attain to your goals.
For me, the weight loss strategy was that I had to go on a low-carb diet and added a two mile run to my weight training. This was necessary for me to achieve the 15lbs in 30 days target. Now, understand that a low-carb diet is a big deal for me. Being a Nigerian, we eat rice an average of ten times a week (either for lunch and dinner five times a week, or breakfast, lunch and dinner three times a week). While I generally don’t eat large portions, this meant cutting down on the number of times I ate rice or noodles, and reducing the size of my portions.
Also, I typically used to run one mile at most when I felt like, but an information that I was given was that if I wanted to burn fat, I had to run. So I decided to run two miles at least three times a week. The day I decided to do it, I completed two miles.
Here is a summary of my regimen:
- A minimum of 150 ab exercises daily
- At least three times a week run 2 miles
- With each workout, I did some weight training alternating between legs and chest exercises, arms and shoulders, back and arms. (Find a weight training routine that works, my goal was to have a full body workout each week, with emphasis on my arms)
- Low-carb diets, and high fiber diets
- Avoid fatty foods, simple sugars
- Eat smaller portions
- Drink lots of water
- Try not to eat after 1opm (I typically go to bed at about 1am)
- 1 protein shake on alternate days as a meal replacement
- For me, my body seems to be stubborn in responding to exercises, so this meant I had to increase the intensity of my workout. My point is get information that will help you overcome whatever challenge you may be facing in your weight loss strategy, and diligently apply yourself to it.
I’ll add that you should have fun along the way. Through this process, I ate normally, but the key was discipline. I made sure I ate wisely. If I was eating something high in calories, this meant for the rest of the day I have to consume very little calories. If I order a steak, I order vegetables without butter for the side (NOT mashed potatoes). Some days I fell short by eating some delicious but decadent cupcakes, but with the understanding that I was going to pay a hefty price, but that was fine. I was my own slave-master, so I had to drive my body to pay the price for indiscipline. The point is that you must be disciplined and you must commit yourself to do what it takes to achieve your goal!
At the end of it all, what were the results? I am about 3lbs away from 179lbs/15% body fat as I post this on September 30, 2012. Not bad for a guy who’s about 5 ‘9”, 32″ around the waist, shoulder width of 26″ and 17″ biceps (I lost fat and gained some muscles). What do you think?
If this has helped you, share this post with friends, and if you have a blog, give me a nice complement by linking to this post!